Katniss and Rue: Healing Properties of the Plants of the Hunger Games
Katniss Everdeen Knows a Lot About Plants
If you have read The Hunger Games books, it’s hard not to envy the enormous knowledge of plants that Katniss Everdeen and her family have. Her dad was a hunter and knew tons of things about the wilderness, and he taught Katniss how to survive eating wild plants. He also taught her which plants would mean death after few bites.
Her mom and her sister are healers, and they can cure any illness with the few resources they have available in their state of poverty, mostly relying on natural remedies like plants, oils, etc.
Girls Named After Plants: Katniss and Rue
Katniss and the cute Hunger Game participant, Rue, are named after plants. Even Karniss's sister, Primrose, has the name of a flower.
I had never heard of the katniss plant before reading the book, and I thought it was made up by the author. When I looked it up, however, I discovered that it does in fact exist and that it has an interesting story.
Rue is also a plant, and it has healing properties, as well.
About the Katniss Plant
The katniss plant has a unique characteristic in the shape of its leaves: they look like arrowheads.
The destiny of baby Katniss Everdeen seems to be decided at birth, the little baby was destined to become a precise and deadly archer, a skill which will save her life and change history.
The plant lives partially submerged in water and has bluish tuber roots that store nutrients and serve for plant reproduction as well.
The flowers have three round petals, mainly white, with some red in the middle.
While the katniss plant is used in fish tanks for decoration, it is a common plant in ponds, creeks, and marshes, especially in North America.
As we learn from the book, the roots of the katniss plant are edible tubers; in fact they were popular food with the Native Americans.
You can plant katniss in your pond, and it will propagate and multiply. If you want to limit its proliferation you can plant it in vases submerged 12 inches deep.
Wanna see what I got you today? It's a mockingjay pin, to protect you. And as long as you have it, nothing bad will happen to you, okay? I promise.— Katniss Everdeen
About the Rue Plant (Ruta Graveolens)
Rue is a perennial plant, originally from the Mediterranean area. The plant was considered an amulet against fear, people would carry rue’s leaves in their pockets when they had to face scary situations, and the homes were Rue grew were considered auspicious, because rue was believed to keep witches and evil spells away.
Rue’s leaves should be harvested before the flowers bloom, and they can be used fresh or dry.
Rue: Culinary and Therapeutic Uses
The leaves of rue can be used as herbal medicine, in foods, and to flavor liquors, but consumption is strongly discouraged due to its potential side effects.
Culinary Uses. In the kitchen, fresh rue leaves can be used to flavor salads, meats, fish, oils, and aromatic vinegar. One of rue’s very popular uses is to add it to liquor, in order to add aroma and to enhance its digestive properties.
Therapeutic Properties. Rue is known as a powerful herb that should not be taken lightly. In fact, in some cultures it is used as the main natural way to induce abortion or miscarriage or to prevent pregnancies.
Strongly stimulating and antispasmodic, rue is often employed in form of a warm infusion. But be mindful that in excessive doses it is an narcotic poison.
It forms a useful medicine in hysterical affections, in coughs, croupy affections, colic and flatulence.
Externally, rue is an active irritant, used to rub on chest or affected areas. If bruised and applied, the leaves will ease the severe pain of sciatica. The expressed juice, in small quantities, was a noted remedy for nervous nightmare, and the fresh leaves applied to the temples are said to relieve headache. Compresses saturated with juice of the plant, when applied to the chest, have been used beneficially for chronic bronchitis.
If a leaf or two be chewed, a refreshing aromatic flavor will pervade the mouth and any nervous headache, giddiness, hysterical spasm, or palpitation will be quickly relieved.
Happy Hunger Games, and may the odds be ever in your favor.— Effie Trinket
© 2012 Robie Benve